Built on the site of the former Middleton Hall and the heavily landscaped parkland idyll, the botanic gardens are fascinating both historically, architecturally and socially as well as botanically! A day out at the Botanic Gardens can be different every time. There is so much to see and do, such as:
This impressive structure is the “largest single-span great glasshouse in the world”. It holds the “largest collection of Mediterranean plants in the Northern Hemisphere”. Even on a rainy day, you will find a little bit of summer in here. Walk by a waterfall and see the koi carp in the pool, sit at a cafe in the warmth, visit exhibitions and enjoy.
“It houses some of the most endangered plants on the planet which come from six areas of the world: California, Australia, the Canary Islands, Chile, South Africa, the Mediterranean Basin.”
Apothecaries Garden and Hall
An apothecaries hall and garden have been recreated on site. For Harry Potter fans the legendary Mandragora root can be seen in one of the cabinets. The hall and garden help us to understand the power of herbs for healing and experience what an Edwardian apothecary’s shop would have been like. In a little village between the botanical gardens and Ystradgynlais, there has long been a tradition of physician-healers. Known as the Physicians of Myddfai, indeed there was a family of healers passing down their knowledge from the 13th until the 18th centuries. According to legend, they were the descendants of the Lady of the Lake. She was said to be found at another local beauty spot Llyn y Fan Fach.
This beautiful mature garden is peaceful and tranquil, it was reconstructed after being moved from
“the Chelsea 2001 Flower Show where it won a gold medal and the prestigious ‘Best of Show’ Award. It consists of three traditional Japanese gardens – the Stream and Lake Garden, the Gravel Garden and the Tea Garden. Filled with symbolism and guided by Zen philosophy, this is a lovely place to sit and contemplate.The Garden was designed by Professor Masao Fukuhara, a lecturer in design at Osaka University.”
The Traditional Japanese Tea House is a very popular element with both children and adults alike. Although if you want a cup of tea you will have to go to one of the many cafes on-site.
Within an unassuming Victorian Glasshouse is possibly the best part of the Botanic Garden.
At first, you just see the plants but then you realize that interspersed with the vines and climbers are hundreds of colorful and majestic butterflies.
Some fly together chasing each other, whilst some bask in the sun, slowly revealing iridescent wings, others you can watch as they feed on fruit and some might even land on you.
As amazing for adults, as for kids, this is one part of the Gardens not to miss.
At the Botanic Garden, there are many excellent events for children and families in the holidays. Other things for the little ones include an excellent children’s adventure play area. A dipping pond where children can use magnifying glasses microscopes to examine their nets and see which plants and creatures they have found. Furthermore, the kids can also try their hand at zorbing which for three pounds was good value for money and incredibly fun and tiring by all accounts.
Double Walled Garden
When the estate was running this Garden was its main food supply garden. It two walls to provide different sheltered microclimates to enable the team of twelve gardeners to provide food for up to 30 people and extend the growing season. Today it explains how flowering plants have evolved and is a lovely place to sit and relax. Make sure you check out the fabulous walled Bee Garden, where you can see the bees toing and froing and flying off above everyone’s heads above the wall of the garden.
Wild Meadow Nature Reserve and a beautiful wooded valley.
Take a walk in a wild meadow nature reserve called Waun Las. Part of Waun Las is a beautiful wooded valley’ called Pont Felin Gât. It is just ten minutes’ walk from the Garden’s Stable Block. A one hour round walk will take you through the wood and across beautiful farmland with stunning views of the Great Glasshouse.
In springtime, you can see woodland flowers like bluebells, lesser celandines, wood anemones and golden saxifrage.
“The tree canopy of oak and ash, and the non-native beech and hornbeam suggests an interesting past.
We know that 200 years ago, Pont Felin Gât looked very different. It then formed a vital part of the Middleton Hall Regency Park. It was less wooded and was dominated by water. There were large lakes, streams, cascades, a bathhouse, plunge pool and bridges. You can see remnants of these today including a thundering waterfall which is still flowing sublimely 200 years after it was first made.”
Food and Drink
There are three cafes on site. The one at the entrance is also a small garden center. In the Great Glasshouse, there is a small snack bar, serving Mediterranean style snacks and there is a self-service restaurant within the Stable Block.
National Botanic Garden of Wales
There are limited public transport options. It is, however, possible to visit for a couple of hours, if you don’t mind long bus journeys.
The Trawscymru T1S runs direct from Swansea Bus Station to the Garden, Monday to Saturday at 12.00, taking about 40 minutes. The bus back leaves at 16.19.
Many thanks to the National Botanic Garden Of Wales for letting us use their fabulous photos all photography is c. Copyright Botanic Garden of Wales All Rights Reserved.